Imitation, it is said, is the sincerest form of flattery. Our blogging “cousins” at www.IgnatianSpirituality.com had an excellent posting yesterday about Art & The Spiritual Exercises. I have decided to swallow my pride and share it with you.
This is a stained glass window created by Dennis McNally, SJ, depicting three of the principal meditations in the Spiritual Exercises. The artist explains:
The Principle and Foundation is depicted on the left as abstracted wheat and grapes cascading from heaven with two hands holding a terrestrial globe on which is planted the cross of Christ, with the Lord Crucified. All is gift to be seen against the backdrop of God’s purpose.
The Two Standards are the central window’s story, with the Satan figure in gold bearing a banner on which are depicted plenty, power and prestige in the images of a bag of gold coins, a group of guns and a parade car. The Christ figure is in white bearing a cross which bleeds (poor, powerless and humiliated), the antithesis of the gifts promised by the Evil One.
In the center of this window is the yin and yang, representing the constant interaction of motivations toward opposites, which are part of our everyday living of the Exercises. Finding a way for our gifts to be means to loving rather than ends for living is the central gift for each of us.
The Sume et Suscipe or the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love, is depicted on the right. A priestly or angelic winged figure, bearing the Eucharistic bread and wine, raises a heavenly Jerusalem, centered with a cross, symbolized in a bee hive.
More Ignatian art here.